Writer: John Michael McDonagh
Cast: Brendan Gleeson, Chris O'Dowd, Kelly Reilly
A priest (Brendan Gleeson) is threatened during a confession by a man who claims to have been abused by some priest when he was 7 years old. He thinks killing off a good priest will make more of a statement and asks the father to get his affairs in order and that be ready to die on next sunday. The film then follows his activities over the next one week.
It is now very common to have films dealing with the abuses perpetrated by church and its priests and unlike those films John Michael McDonagh tells the story in which the priest is the good character trying help the community which has a great deal of cynicism about the Church. The church has only itself to blame for its shenanigans in Ireland and 'Philomena' is another recent film which dealt with similar subject matter. By having character like Father James who is not a bigot and deals the matters that he encounters in a realistic manner, the director is not trying to portray the whole Church in similar light. He is a man who was once married and is father to his daughter, but then decided to become a priest after the death of his wife. He is trying to stay relevant to those he serves unlike most of the church. Film might not be realistic in the sense that all the cynics are shown to be extremely faithful when it comes to their confessions. That doesn't matter because it is a black comedy.
Film is also highly self aware with constant references to the roles they are playing and some of the characters echoing what we think as an audience. There is one scene in the film where the atheistic doctor played by Aidan Gillen (Littlefinger from GoT) tells the following story to the father in a pub:
I can't find the fucking quote but is a about a three year old boy who became deaf, dumb, blind and paralyzed after an anesthetic mishap. He goes onto to say how the boy must have felt upon regaining consciousness with all the darkness thinking his parents would turn on the light. When that doesn't happen, he must have cried but he won't be able to hear his own screams and it must be like entombed inside your own body.
Similar to reaction given by the father I was also going What the fuck and why is he telling this now and in what context. It is really fucked up.
John Michael McDonagh's first film 'The Guard' was a good watch and this film is much better. Both the McDonagh brothers are doing great.